2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (2024)

First thing’s first: Happy birthday, Taylor Swift!

Closing out a year that has seen the now 34-year-old superstar score nothing but touchdowns, the shindig beau Travis Kelce has planned Wednesday night in New York City promises to be quite the celebration.

And well it should be.

With a record-breaking tour that brought in more than $1 billion so far and became a major force in the American economy this summer, a blockbuster concert film that circumvented Hollywood, and the potential to be a top player in next year’s presidential election, Swift has proven beyond any doubt this year that she is the Monarch of All Media.

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Having snared a Golden Globes nomination this week for her Eras Tour concert flick in the new, crowd-pleasing Cinematic and Box Office Achievement category, multiple Grammy winner Swift is well poised to find herself at the Oscars too next year if present trends continue.

The fact is, marketed and pitched to near perfection on almost every platform there is, no one in 2023 captured the imagination, the zeitgeist and the credit cards the way Swift did. Or, to put it another way, in America, no one and nothin’ is bigger than the NFL — except Taylor Swift. Why? Because Swift in a private box cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs’ Kelce is what the league turns the TV cameras to when they want to boost ratings. Which is part of why 2023 is a long way from Swift’s POV on “New Romantics,” from her album 1989, when she sang, “I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me.”

Nowadays, Swift has become a cultural and economic powerhouse with all the castles and all the bricks.

So, send Swift those birthday wishes, put those friendship bracelets on, drape your cat over your shoulders and check out 13 (Taylor’s favorite number) highlights of 2023 for the Miss Americana who broke all the rules in the best way.

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (3)

No More “Taylor’s Versions”

Swift released two albums this year,Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)and1989 (Taylor’s Version),as part of her effort to re-record and own her first six albums. At this point, the whole world knows the story of Swift’s ire afterher original music label Big Machine Records sold her masters to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in 2019. The pop star has never diluted her feelings about the sale, or about Braun, recently positing that the music mogul wanted her records for “nefarious reasons.”

Even Swift herself could not have predicted how successful her efforts would be. In October,1989 (Taylor’s Version)became Spotify’s most-streamed album of the year…on the day it was released.

Swift has been so successful, in fact, that recording labels (including her own Universal Music Group) are now trying to make it harder for other artists to follow in her footsteps. As Billboard reported in October, some of the top music attorneys have noticed labels overhauling contracts to demand that artists wait up to 30 years to re-record their music after departing the company, rather than the 5 to 7 years that has been industry standard for some time (Swift’s required six years before she could re-record).

Swifties are eagerly awaiting the release of her final re-recorded albums,Taylor SwiftandReputation.No word yet on when to expect those, though Swift has another year of concert dates ahead as she treks across the globe for her Eras Tour — the perfect opportunity to delight her fans and ring in 2025 owning all her music. – KC

Romance With Travis Kelce Boosts NFL Ratings

Swift truly broke the internet when she debuted her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in September, attending a matchup at Arrowhead Stadium. She also proved that her influence seemingly knows no bounds, somehow making America’s most popular sport even more popular as her presence at games began to boost ratings for the NFL, particularly among women.

Her first appearance at Arrowhead delivered an audience of 24 million viewers as the Chiefs destroyed the Chicago Bears. While that was down versus last year’s comparable game window, it did mark a significant spike in viewership among female demographics across ages 12-17 and 18-49.

In October, the Chiefs’ victory over the Denver Broncos, which Swift attended fresh off the carpet from herThe Eras Tourconcert film premiere,was up 57% in total viewersfrom the comparable Thursday Night Football game the year before.Female viewership made up 36% of the total audience, compared to about 32% across the previous four games. The week prior, her heavily publicizedattendance at a Chiefs-Jets game drew awhopping 27 million viewers.

The NFL certainly took advantage of this organic audience growth, frequently checking in on her up in the private box during the game broadcasts and playfully making references to their newest fan on social media. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called Swift “great for the league” and assured they will continue to welcome her at any and all games. – KC

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (4)

Ticketmaster’s Epic Eras Tour Fail

Even before Swift stepped on stage at Glendale, AZ’s State Farm Stadium on March 17 for the opening show of the sprawling Eras Tour, it was obvious to everyone how big a deal her journey around the country and the world was going to be – everyone except Ticketmaster it turned out.

The result was that Ticketmaster’s website was overwhelmed and crashed last November when millions of fans tried to get access to the 52 shows here in the US. Locking out Swift’s verified fans and ignoring their pre-sale codes, the epic fail was compounded by parent company Live Nation waitlisting customers and subjecting them to long digital queues before eventually cancelling general tix sales. The fact that a legion of scalpers scooped up many of the 2.5 million Swift tickets that were sold on November 15 (a record for any performer on a single day) just made a bad situation worse.

“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” said Swift herself a few days later.

The fallout saw Live Nation president and CFOJoe Berchtold and others hauled in front of Senate Judiciary Committee to address the fiasco and the lack of competition in the ticket sales racket since Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged over a decade ago. It wasn’t pretty, with senators on both sides of the aisle taking easy swings at the company and the situation.

Though Live Nation promised to erase junk fees after an initiative by the Biden administration, not a lot changed in the big picture — even with the Congress and the Department of Justice probing the Michael Rapino-led company. Last month, as Swift ended the last round of the Eras Tour in Brazil, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations subpoenaed Live Nation to “promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices.”

Live Nation said in response that they couldn’t hand over what the Senate wanted until the subcommittee swore to comply with what they termed “standard confidentiality measures.”

Oh, by the way, the problems that bedeviled Swift fans last year trying to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster – it’s déjà vu. Yep, a lot of what happened in 2022 for Swift’s 2023 shows has happened all over again when people were attempting to get tickets for her upcoming 2024 shows in France and the UK. – DP

Spreading The Wealth

Swift trailed riches in her wake with the Eras Tour perking up city and state economies as spending by concertgoers proved pure financial jet fuel.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, Swifties averaged $1,300 of spending in local economies on travel, hotels, food, merchandise and costumes. There were beads and bracelets and Eras Tour hairstylists. The group said the spend is on par with the Super Bowl, but that’s one night — this was 53 shows in 20 cities over five months and it generated $5 billion or more in direct economic impact, according to estimates.

That’s larger than the GDP of a small country.

While many attendees were local, each concert attracted visitors who spent multiple days in cities, driving record-high hotel occupancy rates and buoying restaurants and shops.

After polling over 500 Swift fans, software company QuestionPro estimated the singer’s fans spent $93 million per show on tickets, travel and other, working out to an overall $5.7 billion impact.

For instance: the six nights of the Eras Tour at L.A.’s massive SoFi Stadium benefited the city to the tune of $320 million, with 3,300 jobs created, $20 million in sales and local sales tax, and another $9 million in hotel room taxes, said the California Center for Jobs & The Economy. Spending around her two concerts in Denver contributed an estimated $140 million to the state’s GDP, according to local research group Common Sense Institute, noting an estimated $200 million in direct consumer spending associated with the Denver concerts. (These number are all estimates.)

Swift’stwo concerts on June 16-17 at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium generated $46 million in direct spending, said marketing and promotions agency for the region, Visit Pittsburgh. Those dates saw the highest weekend occupancy since the Covid pandemic and the second highest on record­­.

Notably, Swift was also the rare pop star to get a shout-out by the U.S. central bank.

The Fed’s Beige Book – a state-of-the-economy document issued eight times a year – noted comments by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve on surging hotel bookings with Swift in town. “Despite the slowing recovery in tourism in the region overall, one contact highlighted that May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city.” – JG

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (5)

From Honorary Mayor To Christ The Redeemer

There are few artists who can say that Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer welcomed them, literally, with open arms. But the local archdiocese made an exception for Swift, who landed in the Brazilian city to the sight of the 125-foot statue bearing messages of support and a Junior Jewels-inspired T-shirt, a là her “You Belong With Me” music video.

As she made her way across the globe, local officials have named Swift honorary mayor and renamed stadiums, roads, and even entire cities in her honor. In Seattle, fans cheered so loud for her that it registered as an earthquake. Needless to say, Swift’s Eras Tour arrived in every city with a bang. – KC

The Concert FilmThat Beat Hollywood At Its Own Game

Concert movies were hardly big business on the big screen, with many icons including Madonna and Christina Aguilera relegating their big show to cable TV. However, Swift struck lightning in a bottle at the box office when she decided to bring her sold-outEras Tourconcert to cinemas in between its U.S. and international legs.

In a genius business move by Swift and her parents Andrea and Scott, they opted to release the film directly through the No. 1 exhibitor around the globe, AMC Theaters; the first in a newfound distribution business for the circuit. The upside? Sharing close to 60% of the box office gross on the $10 million-$20 million priced concert pic helmed by Sam Wrench, versus giving up millions of upside to a movie studio that would spend $80 million global on a theatrical release. Swift wasn’t in need of a studio marketing machine as she has her own in her near half-billion social media followers across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and X. The biggest announcement for the film? Her first post on IG on August 31 announcing tickets were on sale. Appearances at Kansas City Chiefs games followed to support Kelce also proved to spike the movie’s profile ahead of its opening, which became the biggest at the fall box office with $92.8 million stateside over October 13-15.

Equally for AMC,Taylor Swift: The Eras Tourwas a brilliant move. After studios moved big movies such asDune: Part Twoand Zendaya’sChallengersout of the fall due to the actors as it prevented members from promoting movies, the debt-laden exhibitor took its box office fortune in its hands by stepping up to release Swift’s film.

Tickets were priced at$19.89 for adults (the year Swift was born) and $13.13for kids (reflecting her lucky number ‘13’). The movie would also open on October 13.In its first day of presales,Eras Tourhad clocked a mind-blowing$26 millionfor AMC, beating their previous first-day presales record forSpider-Man: No Way Homewhich did $16.9 million. Overall, industry presales for all circuits came in at $37 million. Before its U.S. opening, advance ticket sales onEras Tourreached $65 million. The movie held onto No. 1 for two weekends in a row, ultimately finagling at $178.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $250 million worldwide. At the domestic box office, Swift can claim the highest-grossing concert movie of all time, though at the global B.O. she’s behind the 2009 Michael Jackson concert/documentary featureThis Is It, which counts over $261 million.

RELATED: The Highest-Grossing Concert Movies Of All Time In The U.S. – Photo Gallery

AMC immediately tried to replicate its self-distributed concert formula again to rival exhibitors withRenaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.However, the 32-time Grammy winner doesn’t have the wide-swatch demo Swift has among females;Renaissanceopened to $21.8 million over December 1-3 but plummeted 75% in its second weekend with $5.4M. All goes to prove that when it comes to concert films at the box office, Swift is a unicorn. – AD

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (6)

A Friendship With Queen Bey

Beyoncé and Swift go way back, first interacting on stage when Kanye West infamously interrupted a 17-year-old Swift at the 2009 VMAs. When Beyoncé was awarded video of the year, she redirected the mic back to Swift so the rising star could have her moment. They’ve remained supportive of each other over the years, even as both have risen to unfathomable levels of fame. This year, as they both had record-breaking moments, Beyoncé seemed to follow in Swift’s footsteps by going straight to AMC to distribute herRenaissanceconcert film, and they both attended the other’s film premiere. The pair rarely speak about each other, but their actions say enough as two of the most powerful women in entertainment. – KC

Swift Takes A Shot At Deuxmoi

Swift, and by proxy her longtime publicist Tree Paine, aren’t exactly known for taking shots at celebrity gossip sites — no matter how often they weigh in on her personal life. So, naturally, it made headlines when Paine took to her own social media to dispel a rumor peddled by theGossip Girl-esque account that Swift and her ex Joe Alwyn had wed in 2020, accusing Deuxmoi of causing “pain and trauma” with the “fabricated” claim.

How will this feud impact Max’s development of Deuxmoi’s book,Anon Pls?The story appears to be loosely based on how the person behind thepseudonymousInstagram accountstruck gold. Might the series now include a feud with a world-famous pop star? – KC

Dancing With The Stars’&‘SNL‘Feel The Taylor Effect

The NFL isn’t alone in seeing ratings boosts when aligning itself with Swift. Amid the buzz about Swift and Kelce’s relationship, both made cameos during the Season 49 premiere ofSNL, which sawa 19% audience increase versus the Season 48 premiere. The episode also made the most noise on social media since November 2021, when Swift was the musical guest.

Dancing With the Starsalso paid tribute to Swift this season and, while she wasn’t in the audience or on the ballroom floor, just the inclusion of her music was enough to pique interest. The November episode was the show’s most-watched multi-platform telecast onABCsince the Season 30 premiere on the network in 2021 (DWTSspent last season exclusively on Disney+). Swifties also came together on social media with a plan to oust contestant Harry Jowsey over his friendship with Braun. He and his pro partner Rylee Arnold did go home that week, though there’s no telling how much Swift’s fans were a factor. – KC

The Summer Prime Video Partnered With Taylor Swift

After longtime Swift fan Jenny Han managed to secure rights to the unreleased “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” for Season 1 of her Prime Video YA adaptationThe Summer I Turned Pretty, audiences were eager to see what she’d pull out for Season 2. They were not disappointed. The season featured nine Swift songs including a snippet of the yet-to-be released “Delicate (Taylor’s Version)” fromReputation.

But no one was expecting that just a few months later, Prime Video would tease “Look What You Made Me Do (Taylor’s Version)” in the trailer for its revenge thrillerWilderness.The move prompted speculation about whether Swift had a larger partnership with Amazon, though nothing else has emerged yet. Sources tell Deadline that Swift has not been as involved in securing those music rights as one might think. – KC

Time’s Person of the Year

Swift ended her year with yet another first, as Time’s Person of the Year.

It marks the first time an entertainer or performer has been honored on their own, as the denomination usually goes to a political figure. She beat out Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, the Hollywood strikers, and a freshly crowned King Charles III for the title — perhaps a perfect illustration of the power Swift has wielded this year.

Breaking another barrier, Swift is also the first woman to receive the Time POY honor twice, after appearing in the 2017 issue as part of the “Silence Breakers” following her sexual assault trial. – KC

Behind The Camera

The 12-time Grammy winner has sat in the director’s chair before on myriad music videos, i.e., for “Lover,” “Cardigan”, Bejeweled” and “Lavender Haze” to name a few, but also the short filmAll Too Wellstarring herself, Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink. It was about a man and a young woman who fall in love but slowly drift apart, and was based on Swift’s song of the same name.

In December 2022, it was announced that Swift would make her feature directorial debut withSearchlight Pictureson an original script that she would pen. All info was and remains mum. We hear that she’s still working on the script. C’mon now, she’s been busy.– AD

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (7)

Rockin’ The Vote

We’re not going to jump into the GOP’s and Trump acolytes’ conspiracy ditch that has Taylor Swift as the true campaign manager of Joe Biden’s reelection, or presume her strong pull in certain Red states is why Republicans stumbled in the 2022 midterms. While the superstar endorsed Biden in 2020, like many of her moves this year, Swift has taken a much more strategic approach going into next year’s election, where a women’s right to choose will be one of the battle lines: she’s getting out the vote.

The move by the “Fearless” singer is likely putting the fear of God into the GOP, again.

A short and to-the-point post to her 270 million Instagram followers on National Voter Registration Day in September encouraging them to “raise your voices” and register to vote saw a 1,226% surge in interactions on Vote.org during the hour after Swift’s missive. That translated into 35,000 new registered voters, the nonprofit later said, a three-year record.

Granted, that’s no huge number unto itself. However, having put her influence in the political ocean during the 2018 midterms and in her 2019 documentary Miss Americana, Swift taking up the cause of voter registration among young adults in 2024 is a targeted gameplan. Next year will see an election that will surely be won or lost in specific states like Pennsylvania and Georgia. With current apathy or outright hostility to Biden from voters ages 18-34, greater effort or endorsem*nts by Swift statistically could actually tip the balance on who will be the leader of the Free World.

So, while Biden may have publicly confused Swift with Britney Spears just before Thanksgiving, POTUS may well be thanking her and the so-called “Taylor effect” personally in his victory speech next November if the performer puts her finger on the political scale.

BTW, next November is exactly when Swift kicks off the final stint of her Eras Tour, so she might be taking a victory lap of her own. – DP

2023 (Taylor’s Version): 13 Ways Taylor Swift Staked Her Claim This Year As The Monarch Of All Media (2024)

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